Effexor XR Memory Loss








Making the Connection

Memory Loss:Making the Connection

More than ten years on Effexor XR. A gradual yet shocking decrease in my memory: word retrieval, short term memory, sense of ‘fuzziness’ about events in recent past. Additionally, an acute sense of congitive degeneration. In my case, I found involvement in physical training program involving balance, dexterity, agility and coordination, coupled with Iyengar Yoga and meditation successfully alleviated a great deal of this fugue .. at first.


My hope initially was that since I had never been someone who exercised, this focus on the physical might result in the creation of a parallel neural nework which could function in lieu of my damaged prefrontal cortex. Actually replace the defective (as I saw it) right brain dominance.

Noticed after a few months that I was returning from exercise and from cranial sacral work totally exhausted. (The cranial sacral therapist would say “Ok, now I’ve got all your neurotransmittors stablilized). My theory was that the medication (300 Effexor XR and Wellbutrin 50 was interfering with the process of creating natural endorphins, possibly even establishing the very beginnings of new neural networks. I started cutting back on the meds; totally off the Wellbutrin and got down to 37.5 of Effexor XR until an injury necessitated me stopping my exercise program for a few months. Not shortly thereafter, the depression returned en force. Currently, I am back on 150 Effexor (after a 9 day stint on Pristiq which resulted in major Effexor Withdrawal Syndrome. Currently, Im in the process of reaclimating to Effexor: heartburn, shortness of breath, free floating anxiety, even some of those horrid suicidal ideations. All helped today by 2 mg of Ativan. A few Coca Colas for energy and sugar.


After years of talking with my psychiatrist about my memory loss, problems with word retrieval, feeling as if I was in a fog, inability to sustain a job (or a relationship) increased isolating, I was almost convinced this deterioration was an effect of the aging brain. Until I came across this discussion board last week: About: Effexor and Memory Loss, with over 100 comments from Effexor users complainig of th same thing. Some claim their cognitive functioning improved after discontinuing the medication, but others had seen no return to normal.

A note from Wikipedia: In a study of the tolerability of venlafaxine at a dose range 75 to 600 mg per day for treating DSM-IV major depressive disorder “failing memory” was reported at all doses in 44.4% of cases. The severity of venlafaxine-induced memory loss was also noted to increase with dose and length of treatment.[32] As memory loss may have a significant impact on the patient’s ability to function in his community or place of work, this adverse effect should be an important consideration when prescribing venlafaxine in an out-patient setting and suggests that venlafaxine is most suitable for the treatment of in-patients.

source: ^ Harrison CL, Ferrier N, Young AH (June 2004). “Tolerability of high-dose venlafaxine in depressed patients”. J. Psychopharmacol. (Oxford) 18 (2): 200–4. doi:10.1177/0269881104042621. PMID 15260908.

But there are other questions I have for Individuals on ADs.

  • did you start smoking again
  • have you gained weight
  • have you become more isolated, less motivated
  • do you have difficulty holding on to a job
  • do you have difficulty handling routine jobs, keeping up with mail, keeping house clean and orderly, getting car serviced on time
  • have you lost contact with family and friends since you started on the drug
  • has the quality of your life improved
  • what have been your experiences in attempting to come off Effexor XR?

Uses, Side Effects of Effexor XR

Wyeth continues to downplay the presence of brain zaps in the discontinuation syndrome.

Along with the online discussion forums, check out Youtbube for personal video stories.

A Youtube of withdrawing from Effexor. 7 days on 37.5; take every 2nd day. Make it whole next day the day after that is when he would feel the withdrawal.

A youtube about depression


Memory loss linked to antidepressents, especially Effexor XR

Long term use of antidepressents

104 Responses to “Effexor XR Memory Loss”

  1. It’s funny, I read the title “Effexor XR and Memory Loss,” and instantly I went, “wow, maybe that’s my problem.” I’ve been on the medication for nearly 7 years and often people laugh at me saying “oh you’ve got the worst memory EVER!” but I never thought that it could be a side effect of the medication. For instance, I’ll see a movie and a week later not even remember if I had seen it, or what the plot was. I forget entire days, experiences, communications, and usually just own it up to “life is busy, I don’t have time to remember the little things.” This is definitely an interesting proposal.

    • EXACTLY RIGHT! I’m on 300 mg Effexor XR for about 8 years and my memory is eroding to the point now that I don’t remember the plot of a movie I saw three weeks ago, or I can’t remember what I had for dinner two nights ago. It’s beginning to affect my professional life. The problem is that when I’ve tried to go off in the past I’ve had horrendous body-zaps up and down my legs and finally had to go back on the Effexor for relief. YIKES! Now I’m really committed to weening off…

      • Try to get yourself into treatment with Chinese Medicine and with nutritionists and work with a pharmacologist. These folks are becoming experts in helping people regain their equilibrium and tapering them off pharmaceuticals. They are truly saving my life and restoring me to sanity.

  2. kate,
    there is a whole lot more information on this site about this topic. i just started work on it last week and right now i am working on the navigation problems…. If you get a chance take a look at neuroplasticity and neurogenesis pages because they deal with how we can go about repairing things like memory loss. I have kinda tapped into some ideas as to why this is occuring among so many people. Im researching it.
    One of the things I want to do with this site is have it create community … I am going to create a section called My Story where people can write in about their unique experience, diangoses, medications they are on, have tried, what works what doesn’t etc.

  3. memory losses is very normal with anti-depressive treatments because they are relieving depression with memory system
    antidepressants boosting neurogenesis to restore the volume of shrinking place in brain this boosting little fooling the brain circuits which is responsible from memory function.
    The point is everybody have a neurogenesis rate but peoples who take antidepressants have very much neurogenesis rate from the normal people i think this much rate is responsible from memory failing but we have to pay this situation for relief may be after the remission these side effect will disappear quietly
    i think some of the brain ares must be restore about %96-98 to brain function normally yeah some of the brain areas must be nearly full restored for depression relief

  4. […] ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: By the way, this lady has a great blog on her bipolar disease and discusses Effexor causing her memory loss and brain zaps https://brainzaps.wordpress.com/effexor-xr-memory-loss/ […]

  5. OMG! I’m so upset. I’ve been taking Effexor XR for the past 4 yrs. and I have become the family joke as far as remembering anything. This has been a very depressing experience forgetting things and not being able to focus. I’ve been scared for my job. This is serious I really thought I was losing my mind.

    So, what is next?
    Who can help?

    • yeah, it IS serious. Right now, I am researching the role of oxytocin and imbalanced circadian rhythms big time … i hope you will read through other parts of this site which deal with new therapies which do not involve psychotropics …. AND whatever you do, DO NOT get off Effexor XR cold turkey. It is one of the most addictive drugs on the market. Withdrawal has to be supervised carefully over time.

    • I had the same problem i felt like i had been loosing my mind and cried for hours thinking that maby my family would be better off if i was in a mental hospital. I asked my dr. if i could possiably have alztimers at the age of 31 and she had a brain scan done and they keep telling me that higher levles of stress can cause foucusing issues. my short term memory loss was so bad it was getting dangerous. For me to do simple things like cook or drive. When i cooked i would hold a spoon to remember and still burn the food b/c i couldn’t remember why i was holding the spoon. Other things i had to do were set muiltiple alarms around the house with notes so i could remember things like picking my kids up from school or to take meds. I also would be driving down the road and forget where i was going. i am not on effexor any more due to the fact i felt it had to have something to do with it and it took a while but i am starting to get my life (memory) back in order but now the stress and panicing is back. I want to start another treatment but now i am afraid and don’t know what to do.

      • i am working every day on listening to music and doing meditations which help with stress and panic. Search under mindful meditation and relaxation meditation for things to download. I am also signed up now to Luminoisity and every morning I sign in and do about 5 – 10 minutes of work on problem solving and improving cognitive skills. costs a little over $5 a month to join. It helps to center me and although my progress is slow it is steady and some days are better than others.

        Don’t go back on that drug. I am begging you. There are other solutions. The findings on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy are just astounding and offer so much hope for the acttive role we can play in reframing how we react to the world.

      • I have had the same issues re: memory loss since I went on Effexor. It got so bad and frustrating that I stopped the effexor. The anxiety has come back but I don’t care. I rather live all my days in anxiety than have no memory and focus. Unfortunately I have not regained my memory/focus and am wondering how long it took you for your memory to come back. I have been off of Effexor since May, so 6 months now with no improvement. As far as working with your anxiety, I have found meditation, yoga, leading a simpler life, GOOD FOOD (read trudy scott’s food book and how it improves mood), and RIGOROUS EXERCISE work wonders on lowering my anxiety. I agree that it’s not worth going back on the medication. You can find a way to help yourself without relying on these drugs that are affecting our brains negatively.

  6. I have only been on Effexor for almost two months now. I started off with a very low dosage about 37.5mg, and have been doubling it for a few times now. I am now at 150mg. I noticed even when I got to the 75 mg, that my short term memory was starting to worsen. I am only 21 years old, and I can’t remember very much. I am till in school and I am working, and I find myself forgetting daily things and things that happened in the previous 10 minutes. It is quite frustrating.
    My memory is getting worse, and it scares me because I am still in school and continue to do more school after I graduate. I am not really sure if I should continue this medication or try to find a different one. I know it takes a while to get used to, and I am not up to what will be my full dosage yet, but I don’t know if the memory loss is worth it.

  7. I have gone from 150 to 75 & now I am taking 37.5 Effexor XR. I have been having memory issues for years, also fatigue exhaustion shortness of breath weight gain obsessive eating. I thought some of these symptoms were happening because I have a Neuro Muscular disease (Myasthenia Gravis). Withdrawl from this drug is bad I get dizzy, anxious, irritable, disoriented, I also have those brain clicks or zaps when I move my head from side to side and even when I blink my eyes, usually when I get up in the morning it goes away rather quickly. I hope to be off compleatly in 3 months. Whish me luck

    • did you have the zaps when you went on psychotropic meds? Cause I sure did! And involuntary body movements … like i can remember for almost a year my head would snap, sometimes so severely i would fear wrenching my neck …

      Oh good luck to you. My story your story…. I have been down to 37.5 before .. coupled with ongoing exercise and yoga, meditation. it worked until i injured self and then had to stop exercising.

      Im back to exercise again …. cutting back and hopefully will be at your dose soon. It is so hard .. disorientation… I’ve experienced this thoughout the cutdown. Its scarey. The whole damn thing is. Stay in touch. Are you using any of the boards like crazymeds? really helpful.

  8. I have been on effexor sr, 225mg for over 10 years. Recently, I have been having severe problems with word retrieval and verbalization of ideas. Memory loss is not as severe. I am a professor and am very aware of what is going on. I’ve gone to a memory loss clinic (neuroscience) and they tell me its my aging brain (I’m a very young 62); but the onset is so noticeable I don’t think that aging is the problem. I have been exercising routinely for the past 35 years. Has any one done research on a kind of aphasia associated with long-term use? I am desperate.

    • i don’t know yet of any studies at all on long term effects .. but of course you know that the drug companies wouldn’t fund them and so where would the money come from? I am interested in what kind of exercise you do… I am working with agility and balance training again as well as Ivengar Yoga. I find that this ‘retraining’ or rewiring of the brain helps me a great deal in organizing or relearning and in fluidity…. wondering if you have tried that. Plus is it possible for you to cut down the dose? I am at 150 from225 and hoping to get down to 75 (its an on again off again process)

      I am a professional writer, semi retired reporter who also is very much on my game … but this word retrieval and verbalization? unless I am so immersed in conversation that I lose all sense of self, it plagues me as does my episodic memory…. read Oliver Sachs and Doidge and anything you can find on neuroplasticity. i think our answer is building new pathways in the brain. I have a posting on this idea somewhere which i will send you. Check back in. would love to talk more.

  9. I’ve been taking Venlafaxine for 10 years now, I have tried to reduce below 75mg but I start to get withdrawl effects which are very unpleasant, the electric “Zaps” being the most noticible. I have noticed over the past 2 years my cognitive skills declining, my spelling is becoming worse, I can’t remember how to spell words on occasions.
    I’m sorry for others experiencing the same but take comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

    • I’ve been down to 37.5 w/no brain zaps or side effects until i stopped exercising. Then I went into full blown depression again. I cannot suggest strongly enough Ivengar Yoga, Mindful Meditation and exercise to help with withdrawal and cognition. Also Cognitive Therapy really is helping me so much. The goal being to create new neural pathways epigenesis ….

      Im doing so research now on new medicatins focusing on glia as opposed to the synaptic interventions … I’ll post findings as I find them.

      You are NOT alone. Routing for you!

  10. this is so scary. am a nurse and this memory and cogtnitive decline is really scaring me
    I am starting to exercise more but have such low energy that it is hard

  11. Can somebody help me? I have been thinking I have alzheimers or the beginning of Parkinson’s (of which my Dad died from) but am starting to feel a bit relieved thinking it is the Effexor. My memory loss and cognitive decline is showing up in my performance at work however so now am getting very anxious about loosing my job (and health insurance). I really thought I was going nuts and getting ready to hang it up but just knew deep inside that something is wrong with my thinking. Help, where do I go from here? Of course I am seeing my doctor on Monday but am scared of the withdrawls too as I missed my Effexor for a 36 hr period once and was physically sick, very ill!!! Crap, this just sucks. I just want to figure it out.
    MJ in N Dak

    • first of all, don’t be surprised if your doc doesn’t attribute this to the effexor … they just don’t KNOW about it. The drug companies hide this information. My suggestions are: see about lowering your dosage. Start exercising right away. Focus on mindful meditation, yoga. These help to rekindle the growth of brain cells and you re-learn how to be in the moment and re-connect with fluidity and automaticity. There are supplemnts you can start taking to make up the deficits caused by lowering of both the serotonin and the epeneprine.

      You cannot go off effexor cold turkey. you really have to wean off slowly. I am now down to 150 and ready to make my next drop to 110 …

      You really need to find someone who works with integrative medicine. Cognitive Therapy is really amazing because it deals with re-wiring the brain. My life has turned around since my shift from psychotherapy and psychopharmacology yto cognintive therapy and integrative medicine coupled with exercise. My brain is so much more health.

      Check in Monday. Believe me. This WILL get better. You just need to find the right people to work with you.

      • Bootsie, you must be a night owl. I just want you to know that I really appreciate your help and suggestions. My brothers are doctors and they thought I was nuts when I started talking about brain zaps a couple of years ago, so you are right, they just don’t know. Damn that drug company! I so helps to be able to know I am not going nuts and there are people out here who know exactly how I feel. Thank you!

      • I have responded to many of your posts, some a couple years old. I am trying to Venlafaxine cold turkey. Can you tell me why I shouldn’t do that? I mean, I have always heard you shouldn’t, but kind of feel like I have to for a few different reasons. Any information would be helpful. Thank you.

      • so sorry I have been away. Angie, wondering how you are doing now? Please get back to me.

  12. I’m on 75mg at the moment and there is something to be said for physical activity. I’m now working as an Agency Nurse in Nursing Homes and thework is far more physical than I’m used to. After a shift I feel mentally quite alert,thinking is quicker and I can remember things better. This wears off after about 6 – 7 hours and I get very tired the next day. I also feel happier when I get home, this doesn’t last long though mainly due to my wife not understanding that I feel low and exhausted a lot of the time. She calls me pathetic and a lot more to boot. I do try to ignore it but it’s difficult. I have to ask her to repeat what she said sometimes as I forget quickly at home and she calls me thick and stupid.
    What suppliments can I take that would help my memory.??

    PS. Forgive my spelling as I’m forgetting how to spell as well !!!


  13. i’ve heard a lot lately about http://www.prevagen.com/

    also B3, CoQ10, Omegas & Vitamin K (which works with Vitamin D)…

    Let me know what doc says monday and I will also check in with the integrative health docs i work with for other ideas.

    I get tired after exercise. the glow wears off for sure. BUt I cannot stress enough the power of yoga, particularly Ivengar Yoga and any kind of agility training where you have to learn to focus on the different parts and positioning of y our body neurogenesis is KEY!

  14. Well, hopefully my doctor will wean me off the Effexor but then what? I have had depression forever. What do I go on next? Started out on — um, see, I can’t remember!! That sucks, anyway, eventually was changed to Zoloft and when that quite working was put on the Effexor, which was awesome for the depression–and we all know what happened then. I am scared to try something else but scared to be on nothing. frustrating…..

    • NO this is NOT true. There are so many advances being made now. As yo are weaning off, you are supplmeneting, you are changing your life style, you are retrainng your brain to , building new neural pathways. tacking that HPT Axis (forget it that is the right acronym.

      You know what I’d like to do. I’d like to start a weely hang out for those of us who are struggling with this. Do you use Google + yet? You can create a private group there and schedule virtual hangouts for a particular time … we could get a small group together to touch base in real time and offer solutions.

      Let me know.

      This is just the beginning of your fight.! Trust me. Im 60 and I’ve been battling this my whole life and for the first time ever I am making progress independent of the medicatiion model.

      It can be done. Not easy. But possible. Not that there aren’t slip backs. but they are never total remissions because I have built the skills and the connections to pull me back before i get too far gone.

      I am here to help you and to promise you. IT WILL GET BETTER and no, you will not be depressed forever.

  15. Here we go, met with my dr. today and will go down from 150 to 37.5 three tmes a day for a week and then 37.5 twice a day for a week and then 37.5 once a day……….I told him that I wasn’t feeling so positive about going down that fast but he said I would be the judge and go slower if need be. I am also hoping to walk more as the weather has been very beautiful here, then will hit the mall in cold weather. I don’t know, it sounds too easy. The doc did say I will go through types of withdrawls so might as well “get ‘er done”. Easy for him to say. Told my boss and she was surprised when I said “Effexor” (her eyes got huge) and she said, “that’s what my Mom was on and she had terrible short memory loss” so in a way it is nice that my boss is understanding that part!! I am scared, I just know how sick I got when I missed 2 doses, forced my nauseated stomache to keep an effexor pill down and put myself to bed, not even knowing if I would wake up again!
    I got the print out of the drug description from my pharmacist and he said he had heard of the short term memory loss but nothing about brain zaps or major cognitive problems. Any tips on doing this weaning-off and how slow to go??? Like I said before, here we go………………….thanks

    ps What is Google+ ?

  16. 1. you are NOT on Effexor XR?
    2. what kind of doc is this?
    3. what are plans after going down so low?
    4. its way too quick a cut back!!!

    Google + is like facebook.

  17. 1. yes, it is Effexor XR
    2. MD Family Practice
    3. try Wellbutrin if needed
    4. I started today and no brain zaps but still cognitive problems will see what happens why?

    I am still furious at the drug company. The pharmacist had heard of short term memory loss with Effexor XR ONLY, not any of the other side effects.

  18. i would just go slower in the taper down and add (seriously, to avoid a major crash) Yoga and meditation, think about 5HTP supplement when you get down low or having the doc put you on prozac for the final taper down. I would ask the MD how much experience he/she has with integrative medicine and can you get a referral? I would think about a neurologist … the cognitive probs will not go away for awhile and not without some work on your part with your brain. I wish we could start a class action suit again Wyeth and i thought i would share something I wrote for a group called Kosability @ Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/21/1013352/-KosAbility:-The-Taking-of-The-Cookie-Tea

    I see my therapist today … cognitive therapy is short term and you see immediate results PLUS is covered by most insurance cos. will ask about your docs ideas and for her input.

    stay in touch. and if i don’t get back to you for a few days don’t think i’ve forgotten. im a writer and sometimes i just need to shut off the connection to the internet ….

  19. A few weeks ago, I was explaining to my doctor the things I was forgetting (even how to get to a location I’ve been to MANY times!), mistakes I’m making, blanking on spelling, words, etc. She felt some of these things may be due to early dementia, which has absolutely devastated me, and I have been torturing myself ever since when I forget things, etc. thinking “oh no, it’s dementia!” My therapist though feels it is basically from anxiety, that I am a worrier, and find it difficult to always be in the moment, paying attention to what I am doing now, rather than my mind racing in all directions.
    I have been on Effexor XR for YEARS, different doses. About a month ago I stopped Effexor XR (it had started making me feel WAY WORSE) and I changed to Welbutrin and Celexa, and taking Seroquel at night.
    None of the memory/mental issues have gotten better, and from what I read elsewhere by some people who have been off for years, that it may not get better. So essentially it is no different than dementia. How disheartening ! There should be a lawsuit against the makers of this horrible drug.

    • Sounds like you need to find NEW network of professionals supporting you, hook up with someone who is working as a fitness trainer — a really good fitness trainer knows more about how the mind works than most of these doctors and therapists who dole out pharmaceuticals which blunt or try to blunt symptoms and create new often worse ones. Check out Crazyboards which is run by a good friend of mine who writes there under moniker “Velvet Elvis” …

      I am so sorry you are on this new cocktail… Yoga, mindful meditation, supplements with the assistance of a professional for determining which ones will be the best.

  20. I am 28 years old currently and have been taking Effexor xr for over ten years. I thought when it was the first drug to really control my horrible depression problems that it was the most wonderful thing, but now I am having serious doubts.

    Depression is terrible, especially when you self-mutilate, but what is worse really? That or forgetting my own son’s milestones? I can’t even remember that we took him to the national fair 2 weeks ago. When I saw the pictures from it I was completely shocked…and I was in the pictures with him! I feel like I am crazier than ever! My husband and mom look at me like I am crazy when I ask about things that we have done before, not remembering that we have done them.

    What is weirder is that I was sick this past weekend with something flu-like and since then my memory has been terrible! I can’t remember asking my boss for a raise just last week! It seems like since I was sick I can’t remember the most basic of things! What is wrong with me???

    I am not having the “brain zaps” or th spelling issues so much as just simply forgetting my life. I honestly feel like an amnesiac at times. I just wish I didn’t have these problems, depression and now memory loss…it makes things so difficult. I am scared to death about forgetting my own child’s milestones!! Help!!!

    • Do you have medical insurance? I would serioulsy if you do see about seeing a neurologist — someone who specializes in changes to the brain and find someone who can get you off this medication right now. From my research this is the worst med for memory… how about Lexapro?

      I am working on a regime right now of 150 day 1 75 day 2 adding lexapro to get totally off the Effexor ….

  21. Are you aware of any scientific studies that reveal whether or not people have been able to regain memory lost after coming off Effexor?

  22. My memory loss has been of great concern for me for a while now. I’ve been on Effexor 225mg daily for a couple of years now but have really taken notice this year that my memory consistantly fails me. Also having conversations can be tiring and frustrating because i forget the words i want to say and end up not making much sense. I feel like my mind is just slowing down and the fact i can’t remember things from a day ago really scares me. Im married with two kids, i’m 30 and i feel scared i’m losing my mind.
    However, i am well aware of the withdrawal effects of reducing my dosage – the zaps, nausea, stomach cramps etc so i feel like it’s a loose/ loose situation.
    Overall i must say this drug has saved my life. After 2 suicide attempts i generally feel ‘happier’ not suicidal and not so negative. But lately have been cutting a few times in the last few months.
    Atleast by reading this forum i’ve found comfort that i’m not the only one suffering from the memory loss…..

  23. Wow. What an insightful thread. I had exactly the same issues when on Effexor. On one hand, it allowed me to pick my head up and start to live again. On the other hand, the mental blanks in my speech and thoughts were humiliating.

    I’ve been off for 6 months now, but the anxiety is back in full force. When off it, I worked really hard at memorizing names, poetry, facts. I wasn’t great at it, but it was getting better, I think. That fuzzy blankness was gone.

    But I’m heading back on Effexor. Having read this, I’ll try 75 mg/day instead of the 150 I was on before. I do NOT want to return to apologizing for not remembering meeting people! I wish there was another option! (Yes — CBT, yoga, exercise and meditation are fabulous tools in the toolbox. I’m doing them all every day. They just aren’t quite enough for me — yet.)

    • I want to edit my previous entry since I think it’s not a great idea to start messing around with dosage on a whim. I’m back onto 150 mg/day and feeling much better. I’ll work with a doctor to reduce it as I move forward with other approaches (mindfulness, meditation, etc.). But I don’t want to advocate making up your own dosage without some rationale for it.

  24. Same issues with memory loss, word retrieval, cognitive thinking, work-related issues, etc. with Citalopram(Celexa). I wish there was some kind of recognized disability claim associated with the long-term effects of taking these kinds of medications…no doctor ever told me about these kinds of side effects.

  25. Your not alone see effexorwithdrawaltopix
    for a taper schedule so you can get off the meds.

  26. OMG I’m soooo glad I found this!!!! I have all the same things you have talked about! I thought it was just me! I’m so glad I’m not alone! My memory sucks since I started taking the drugs. I’m off them now, and very glad that I am. However I feel like my memory impacted, even now. I can’t remember anything no matter how long I study! Its awful! Had I known about this side effect I never would have taken this medicine.

    • there are ways you can work on improving your memory … and retrieving memories via hypnotherapy, re-learning skill sets which involve those parts of the brain where ltm are stored … do some investigation …

  27. I am seeeing a cognitive therapist as well, Matt. And it is really helping me. I also started working with a new body worker who does rolphing(sp) and he says this will help so much with cognitive issues. The focus in most of this work is to learn to be in the present moment, to regain the ability to focus — to teach our minds how to focus so that it becomes almost as automatized as our motor movements.

    I will definitely email you directly and I would really like it very much if we created an ongoing support and informational network for everyone. Some people post here once and then I never hear again and I think about every story and wonder how things are going. I also showed this thread to my therapist, who has passed it on to numerous associates. Our goal here has to be to inform as many professinals as possible that this is not mere heresay…

  28. Hi, I’m a 36 year old woman who has suffered from depression from my late teens. I have been taking venlafaxine for about 12 years. Mainly on 300mg per day.
    I have the worst memory of anybody I know. It’s literally in one ear and out the other!
    It causes lots of problems for me in life and in personal relationships.
    I can be distracted in an instant and forget things no matter how important. I would not have started on this drug if I had any idea how it would affect my life.
    However it also saved my life at the time as I suffer chronic, depression.

  29. I am a pharmacist and also have been taking Effexor for several years. I have also noticed a memory issue. I am going to start working on memory…yoga, memory exercises, learining a new language, etc. If anyone has any info on reversibility of the memory issues…please let us all know. In the meantime, I will be tapering off the medication slowly and read about healing the brain.

    • I am in Day 3 of taper down from 150 to 112.5 …. headaches, depression. Found out last week that I have the beginnings of Glaucoma which Effexor XR is one of the primary drugs implicated in possible onset of. Still, the optometrist knows nothing about why the burning, stinging, why the interaction between Glaucoma and Effexor… I had read about Macular Degeneration and never expected Glaucoma….

      Yoga. Exercise. Aminos. Moving forward.

      • I am now down to 75 mg of Effexor XR. It has been a little over a week at this dosage. Some days are worse than others but overall Im doing well. Sleeping is a problem at times but I listen to music to work on creating D waves .. that truly does wonders.

  30. I was on effexor for 7 years. I felt that I would die if I stayed on it as my heart was racing beyond control all the time. Every time I went to refill my prescription the pharmacist would call my doctor to make sure it was right. It was absurdly high. I cant remember the dosage as I cant remember quite a bit from those years nor the 4 or so before. This memory loss happened while on it and has not improved. I was able to come off of it however when I joined a brain nutrition program that helped me ween myself off while supporting the side effects with supplements. Once I was off the effexor the side effects were still very noticable. I went through a couple of years of crazy 3 week headaches that were the intensity of migraines. Luckilly these are gone but the memory still sucks but I have been able to start exercising and working again. Even ran 2 marathons since. Ive been off the effexor 4 years now and it feels good to be myself again. now if I could only regain my memory.

    • Are you trying any cognitive training programs? I do Luminoisty online training every morning now and they have quite a range of exercises for memory…. I am going the ‘brain food’ way as well on my descent from Effexor … right now I am down to 37.5 and using samE, throzine, lithate, 5000 mgs of super powered omegas, DHEA, pregnenalone …. magnesium ALONG with seeing an Osteopath, yoga and exercise. Managing to keep the side effects relatively in control in my 4th day (we’re doing 37.5, 75, 37.5, 75… until Wednesday, then 37.5 every day until next taper down)….

      Meditation and specifically mindful meditation also key parts of my program. I am into my third month now and am off one drug totally.

      Great success story. Any other info you could share about your ‘revovery’ from this med and what you recall about getting off would be fabulous.

      • hello- I am going to look up Luminosity- thanks for the tip. You know a really weird thing that help me with the withdrawls everytime i reduced the dosage was going to the ionic footbath place. dont know how it works or why it would but it did. another thing that i did was the braverman tests, they helped me figure out where my brain chemistry stood from one week to the next. i then balanced it off with the various supplements. I started working with a man Juan Pablo Girardi, he was a huge help in this process, it was really a scary tapering off period though but it is definitely worth it. please let me know if there is anything i can do to help.

  31. great ideas. do you recall which cut back was the worst? And how long a period there was between 37.5 and 0.. did you go on Prozac for the end? AND what do YOU think causes the headaches?

    • i want to say i did 37.5 for 2 weeks then half dose, 2 weeks but im not certain, you could talk to juan pablo girardi though and ask his suggestion. I didnt do Prozac after, I just wanted to be off anything drug like but i did continue with higher amounts of a formula called Brain Mood, another Brain Energy, and Brain Memory. Once completely off I also moved onto Rodeola Rosea. That one I waited to start as it would be too much with the effexor. Rodeola is great though and keeps the spirits up without the crazy speed high of the pharma route.

  32. i want to say i did 37.5 for 2 weeks then half dose, 2 weeks but im not certain, you could talk to juan pablo girardi though and ask his suggestion. I didnt do Prozac after, I just wanted to be off anything drug like but i did continue with higher amounts of a formula called Brain Mood, another Brain Energy, and Brain Memory. Once completely off I also moved onto Rodeola Rosea. That one I waited to start as it would be too much with the effexor. Rodeola is great though and keeps the spirits up without the crazy speed high of the pharma route.

  33. Ah yes i have heard about the Rodeola. Great idea. Today is a bad one, first since this cut back. Will look into brain mood and brain energy. .Don’t know who juan pablo girardi is but will google him. i can’t tell you how much i appreciate this feedback.

  34. I have been trying to withdrawal from Effexor for a few weeks now. I should look for a detox program as I have been suffering greatly.

    • i am there with you. i am on day 4 of 37.5 and let me tell you it is so horrible. I talk to other people who say they had to check themselves into hospital. What I am doing:

      5000 mg Omega 3
      samE 3xdaily

      Yoga 3-4x a week. Mindful Meditation. try to do daily. Agility and balance work. Cardio 3 x a week. Reading mysteries.Taking advil. Having trouble finding foods to eat that don’t disturb my stomache.

      Somedays I feel like dying. But I make myself get up. Get out. Engage. And look to have a day where the positives have more weight than the negatives. I try to redefine my place in my universe every day. And somedays I can’t even get off the couch. Somedays I spend many hours sick in the bathroom. It feels like that train from HUGO is running through my head rather than through the train station….

      Good luck

  35. Hey, I would like to share with my story. one while I was working night shift ( for almost 3 months with no one day off) I thought of having nap at least for one hour. out of a sudden I woke up feeling dizzy and fainting and felt like I’m dying. my heart beats was like going to throw my heart out of my chest. I ran to hospital I felt hard to explain what I’m having and they rushed me to ICU with all Cardio equipment on my chest. all tests were taken and the result ” Nothing “, and they gave me Valium ( its like a drug to sleep ) and discharged same day. next day I was feeling ok and thinking that what happend is basically due to stress and lack of sleep.
    guess what? it attcked me again but this time not alone, it was accompained with depression thinking all the time that I m having serious issue that will kill me. went to hospital again and they transferred me to Psychaitrist. she precribed me with Effexor XR 75ml for 8 months. it was a great solution for me, yes at the begining I experinced some bran zaps and nausea but it didnt last more than one week. I continued with this med for 8 months and then decided to wean off. it wasnt cold turky, rather is was under my doc supervision. it took me like two months to wean off. it was horrible but wasnt so bad or sever. after that, three months later I started having issue with my body ( fatigue, fainting, palpitation and mid depression) I did check up with my doc and found that Vitamin D was so low 6.4 where normal should be 77 or somthing, and then found calcuim a little bit low but other things where found to be ok and perfect.

    now, I m in the fourth month and still having some effects that I would say its all becoz of effexor. it messes up your brain neurotransmitters checmical that let you feel things that doesnt make sense at all.

    I m thinking to make a video to WARN people about this med, I m doing my research to link the drop on some Vitamins and this med which I think is the main cause behind the severity of the withdrawl side effects.

    the good part is that I m feeling much better now than the begining days of the withdrawl but not 100%.

    and I m just 26 old!!

    wish all the best..

    • I’ve been on Effexor for a little over a month but my fuzziness is so bad I’m getting off of it. Haven’t had too much trouble with that at all but the memory thing is really scaring me. Is it going to come back? Am I going to be okay? I’m absolutely terrified.

      • checking in to see how you are doing. My memory definitely has improved with the decrease in dosage of Effexor XR. But you have to exercise your brain!

  36. Hi. I was on Effexor XR for most of 14 years at various dosages. I recently found out that I am also bipolar after having a few manic episodes with psychotic symptoms that were induced due to extreme stress and disruption of circadian rhythms. I am also a recovering drug addict with almost 2 years clean. I did not notice the memory loss so much while I was on Effexor, I noticed a little but I attributed that to my illicit drug use in the past, but after I have stopped taking it for a few months my memory loss and cognitive function is so much worse. I wanted to start taking it again because I suffer from extreme depression and debilitating obsessive thoughts. I took one dose of 37.5 the other day and could feel the effects within a few hours and felt better but then at night there were flashing lights and scary images behind my eyes when I tried to go to sleep and I felt like something was cutting my brain, which I guess are similar to the “brain zaps” that people talk about. I didn’t take it anymore for a few days but my depression and obsessive thoughts are so bad that I took it again today because I can’t see my Dr. for a few more days and the depression is so debilitating but I really don’t want to continue taking it with all of the scary side effects that it has. Does anyone know of an antidepressant that helps with obsessive thinking that has fewer damaging side effects than Effexor? I am also on Trileptal and have Seroquel to take PRN but I haven’t needed the Seroquel much. Thanks.

    • I don’t even know where to begin responding to your post. For starters: those flashing lights and images when you closed your eyes at night? They are symptoms that the synapses in your brain are firing. They are actually signs that something is shifting and can be taken as positive indicators. So don’t let that scare you off.

      I am down from 300 mg of Effexor XR to 75 over at least 12 years since switch from Paxil and other SSRIs. I attempted to get totally off Effexor a year ago and got as low as 37.5 before another crisis had us bump me up.

      The brain fog and memory loss are definite side effect of the Effexor XR but are exacerbated by the use of other drugs. Most highly implicated are ANY pain meds and benzos over any extended period of time. I stopped taking Trazadone which works on histamine resceptors and that definitely helped with the fugue state and the memory and cognituve disfunctions as well.

      The obsessive thoughts DO END once you get stabilized on the right med. When they start coming back for me, when that pattern which is akin to an addiction because you are as addicted to the cycle of obsessing as you are to a drug which you keep using even when you know it will not lead to any resolution can be interrupted with the right medication.

      I strongly advise seeking the help of an integrative med doc, looing into mindfulness based meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. These practices along with the use of supplements (GABA, Dopatone, Magnesium, B, huge doses of Omegas and a gluten free diet along with Yoga and regular exercise are what work for me .

      A tall order, I know, cause when you are depressed doing anything is so frigging hard but that’s my treatment plan.

  37. hello, thanks for the blog which is a very important moment of confrontation given that mainstream science does not recognize this very serious side effect of effexor.
    I took the drug for about 8 years. I noticed that my memory had some difficulties, but that depended on the drug was for me just a hunch, until I discovered this blog.
    is outrageous! In Italy, some users report that this problem in the forum of medicine receives answers from doctors who deny the problem.
    I also have the impression that after discontinuing the drug, the memory problem is worse. (I say memory but not only that … is a clouding overall cognitive).
    I must say though that I have suspended the drug in a time of severe crisis and work that went into a state of depression. I have the impression that depression increases the cognitive deficit.
    I would like to ask everyone this:
    1) those who have recovered her memory after time and maybe after exiting the crisis of depression? and those who have never recovered after years?
    2) you have changed your medication for depression?
    3) someone has used salvia divinorum?

    • 1. Yes. Use yoga, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Look up Rick Hansen, for example and Mark Williams tapes), and Lumosity, an online program to help improve working memory.
      2. Working with a nutritionist/pharmacologist who is providing me with supplments to help my body make for example dopamine (called Dopatone) and serotonin (Tryptophan) and also taking magnesium, calcium, creams to support adrenal health, 5HTP, 4000 mg Omega. Down to 1 mg from 3 of Klonopin and holding at 75 Effexor XR from 150. Off Lexapro totally.
      3. Haven’t used salvia but have read a lot about the use of mushrooms and the like as alternative treatments

  38. Dear boatsie,
    Meanwhile, I apologize for my English which is the result of the translator google. Even my ability to understand what is written on the blog is restricted to the same reason. However, I’ve seen it in more detail after my first post and I have to say thank you for the work you have done, and compliment you on your person, that I learned about on the internet.
    I think you’re an extraordinary person also because from what I see you have two conflicting components of your character:
    1) a painting that you like a strong person and determined to pursue your noble goals (not just related to the care of the disease);
    2) the other component of the weakness inherent in depression (depression is qualified by some as SELIGMAN as the state of those who feel powerless in the sense permanent and pervasive).
    That these two characters are within the same person is amazing, even if you somehow think that’s it for me too.
    I think the connecting link between your helplessness and your strength and determination is a deep human sensitivity.
    I say these things because somehow recognize myself in tea (although I would like to find the same strength to get out of depression).
    Now I talk about myself. My work is different from yours, (I do not say for privacy) but I also wrote some journalistic article and I just finished a mystery novel.
    I had severe depression as a young man around 24 years old and I left off with medication. Over the past 8 years with effexor. The last year I had a crisis at work: I have blown a promotion already achieved and this has triggered a series of negative consequences (the emergence of envy for the chance of my promotion) and the worsening of my social problems.
    In December 2012 I stopped taking my 75 mg of effexor. The mild memory problems that I had slowly become heavy. The pschiatra told me it was a fact related to temporary nervous breakdown in progress. I was starting to take effexor in April and after a few days I discovered your blog and I fell into a panic, because I realized that the cognitive opacity would be permanent. I deleted effexor cold turkey (I know now that it is an error). Now I live a moment of crisis depression (although they are almost always gone to work) with sleeplessness, panic moments, bad thoughts etc..
    I’m finding supplements: I took omega 3, ginkgo biloba, Eleutherococco, and Hypericum perforatum. On the advice of my doctor lately instead of Hypericum perforatumi’m trying Griffonia simplicifolia.
    I tried to do a bit of physical activity (just because I am a bit lazy)
    Also about an year I do cognitive behavioral therapy.

    also following your advice I eliminated gluten and doubled the omega 3.
    I intend also to do a lot more physical activity.
    But some things I want to ask:
    1) on cognitive behavioral therapy: you talk very well, but I am unsure whether to continue with the same therapist, therapist or therapy change: this summer I read a lot of Seligman on positive psychology and positive on the approach to life that allows you to exit the loop of negative thoughts, negative feelings, depression, negative thoughts. In fact I have the impression that cognitive behavioral therapy has brought me to suffer even more to have discovered how wrong I’ve done. I’d like to have a comment on this and the positive psychology;
    2) I want to know something more about the forms of meditation. I had started one month ago some exercises NPL. You suggest Yoga (yoga more physical activity I will have the desire for both?) And mindfulness. you could say somthing more about?
    3) how has improved your cognitive ability? I have the impression to live forever or almost as if I slept only 2 or 3 hours at night, you had the same feeling and now you’re back to being more lucid?
    Thank you so much for everything you do

    • Ecco quello che so di terapia cognitivo-comportamentale . Ed è per questo lo yoga funziona così bene , anche. Si tratta di sostituire i vecchi schemi di pensiero con quelli nuovi e di essere in questo momento. Se si impara a essere intensamente in ogni momento e di impegnarsi a che con ogni nucleo del tuo essere si è in grado di ingannare a volte la depressione .

      Proprio ora , quando sento la depressione in arrivo, mi muovo subito . Non do il tempo di stabilirsi in cammino e scattare foto . Io ascolto i suoni della natura e aspirare i colori e gli odori . Yoga : ( adesso io appartengo a uno studio di yoga , che è molto spirituale e noi Hatha Yoga Flow e Aruvedic ) ho andiamo cinque volte a settimana .

      Meditazione Consapevole : Cercare il lavoro di Jon Zinn . Ascolto Rick Hanson e faccio anche Yoga Nidra di notte per dormire. Questo tipo di meditazione focalizzata e la scienza dietro il lavoro ( Utilizzando Yoga per cambiare il cervello ) è stato davvero utile .

      Tanto di recupero o di essere in procinto di recupero invece di essere nella malattia è imparare ad essere in sintonia con le indicazioni del vostro corpo … i sentimenti della tua ‘ budello ‘ o il tuo cervello di malessere e di rendersi conto che non sei di questa malattia , non sono la vostra depressione . E ‘ solo uno di una SPECT di voi e si deve lavorare di più per rafforzare le altre parti di voi , se avete intenzione di avere una possibilità di combattere contro di esso .

      Cambia il tuo Locale Cervello . Rick Hanson libro che si può ottenere su Amazon

      Meditazioni di cambiare il vostro cervello http://www.rickhanson.net/multimedia/audio/store

      https://www.google.it/ # q = + Rick Hanson

      Ecco un link per Jon Kabat Zin nastri in italiano su Mindfulness http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/languages/italian.html

      Ogni giorno nella mia casella di posta che ricevo una mail da Sounds True http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/welcome

      Non so cosa dire in questo momento sulla memoria tranne che trovo toccando in altri miei sensi mi aiuta a recuperare i ricordi e di essere in ogni momento impronte più pienamente il momento più forte nella mia mente.

      Mi dispiace tanto per le vostre lotte .

      Si tratta di un un giorno alla volta processo . Alcuni giorni sono migliori di altri . E anche io ho lottato per tutta la mia vita con l’impatto della depressione e quindi l’impatto dei farmaci su tutti gli aspetti della mia vita : personale, professionale e sociale.

      Il mio cuore è con voi

      • thanks boatsie,
        for his advice and for your kind words ..
        I wish all the best to you and keep your temper.
        I will try to follow your advice. I have a small child and I have to be strong for him One thing that troubles me is that even He can have my own problems. But at least if so will I will tell him not to commit the same mistakes.
        thank you again.

  39. I forgot I tried Lumosity, but it is in English and it is difficult for me. But I hope to replace studying for my work.

  40. Dear Bootsie,
    how are you? I hope good.
    I’m struggling with my problems and so I’m still looking for help.
    In the absence of the drug, my depression is much worse and also causing panic attacks, never had so badly.

    With the doctor so I decided to go back to drugs: I’m starting with the tofranil that I had used before and I had never caused memory problems.
    Meanwhile, however, my memory problems continue and are very sorry for the consequences on work and my life.
    My fear is that memory problems can be transformed into dementia.
    So I ask you a big favor, which can be very helpful to all who read the forums, you can ask by e-mail to those who have registered if they wish to release a new witness on their memory after a few years? If you are still on drugs? etc.
    Thanks, I hope I do not disturb and do not abuse of your kindness.

    • My memory is so much better! Due to problems in my family and anxiety attacks I have had to temporarily increase my dose of klonopin and within a day or two I can see the mental dulling and the memory problems return. But I can tell you that I was functioning so well when I was down to 1 mg and even on the 75 Effexor XR things were better. There were still problems with word retrieval and episodic memory loss but I felt I was on the right path. Did you ever read and I may have mentioned before The Brain that Reinvented Itself? There are so many findings in cognitive science today which prove that we can fix our brains, that we can restore parts which were broken and we can reaccess memories. Those parts of our lives in whcih we are not totally present, and so we forget say a conversation or a movie ending or a book or an article, we learn to be totally present and retain that interaction. So some things we cannot reaccess because we did not consciously experience them. We were too drugged or too depressed or anxious to truly be in life. We can learn to do that again.

      Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. My blood tests came back showing severe dehydration. I forget to drink all day! And then I drink sparkling water which leeches water out of you. That can be a major contributor to anxiety. As again can blood sugar and eating carbs.

      Stay in touch and don’t give up hope. Meditate.

  41. hi everyone. I’m Will. 30-year-old male.

    I’m grateful for your shares and for this website.

    I had managed to get off effexor 75mg which I’d been taking for about 5 years. I stopped cold turkey: I felt really really rough for about a week (electric shocks – ‘zaps’ – irritable, fatigue, confusion, intermittent overwhelming sadness / happiness, nausea, dodgy bowels) and by the second week I was functioning reasonably well albeit with some of the above listed symtoms. Week three onwards, day by day, I felt more alive, quicker witted, faster-paced thoughts, greater verbal dexterity, improved memory, sexual appetite, food tasted nicer etc.

    But two months after stopping I had a setback and major anxiety kicked in so I reached for the effexor – again 75mg. The anxiety soon left and has left me desiring a medication free life again (I crave a better memory, a better sex life, greater awareness, more emotional control). So, two weeks ago I halved my 75mg capsules (emptied out half of the seeds), three days ago I stopped altogether. Yesterday and most of today the withdrawal effects have been horrendous but seem to be lessening already. Probably because I did some weening this time round.

    I am exploring other ways of dealing with my mental afflictions. Breathing exercices, mindfulness technics, better diet etc. I will explore CBT when I have the time and ressources. I’m determined for this to work.

    I’ve read many of the shares with interest. They have helped me, thank you. Best of luck to all of you out there. It’s not easy, take it one day at a time.
    Love Will

  42. Hi there,
    I have taken this drug for approximately 15 years. The dose is 300 daily.
    I have repeatedly tried to reduce the dose to 225mg daily and I drop quickly into an incredibly severe depression.
    My doctor insisted I reduce dose for a period of 21 months, of this time I was extremely ill with severe depression for 16 months of it.
    I was having panic attacks, couldn’t talk to people, very withdrawn and it was simply utter determination that kept me in work.
    On my regular dose of 300mg I am ‘well’ for about 12 months I then have a severe period of depression for approximately 6 month and then the cycle begins again.
    I smoke I have put on lots of weight over the years, I struggle to eat a real meal and end up eating easy and high sugar snacks.
    When I am well I feel wired a lot and have trouble switching off and when depressed I don’t feel like I have a thought in my head.
    My memory has gradually become very difficult I now wear a small bag around me to keep the note book in so I can plan my day and write down what I have to do.
    My memory is legendary with my friends and family.
    I can set off in the car and forget where I was going and why.
    My family and friends help me to function by reminding me a lot and so do my work colleagues.
    The thing that really upsets me is that somebody can tell me something very heartfelt and if the conversation moves on it has literally gone from my mind.
    I struggle with word retrieval and mix words up and get sayings wrong.
    If a meet friends they will talk about things we did over the last 15 years and if they hadn’t brought it up I would never have recalled the memories myself and soon I have forgotten again.
    I believe it’s a mixture of mental illness and venlafaxine which has caused my cognitive and memory problems.
    I can’t see myself ever being able to get off this drug as even lowering the dose makes me suicidal

    • this is just not true. I could repeat almost every aspect of your story and tell you that it is possible to reclaim your life AND YOUR MIND. I cannot encourage enough looking at your diet very seriously to start with. I’ll bet your blood tests will show elevated sugar levels, low white blood counts, poor oxygenization, high cholesterol and if you did a cortisol test you would see your adrenals are totally messed up. I would urgently suggest beginning with redefining yourself as an individual who has a mental illness just as she also has other attributes and not definite yourself as mentally ill.

      These cycles you speak of: I have gone through them. All the memory problems, the social isolation. It is all so much better now. I do cycle, but I do recognize the warning signs of a downward cycle and put into place a really rigorous program to prevent it from kindling, even though I just want to curl up and die. This involves support groups ( ( go to AA and AlAnon and don’t know if this fits into your family history but in many people with depressive disorders it does). Yoga, Pilates. Mindful Meditation. And stop the sugar. Its so toxic for people with mental illness as is often gluten and wheat.

      And taper down to 275 first. Add supplements like high does of Omegas, tons of proteins, (I’ve written below about just some of the supplmeents I have used.

      I’m not saying I don’t have bad periods. I truly do.

      One thing I want to mention is that research has shown that these medications cause people over long periods of time to exhibit bipolar episodes. I noticed that as well. I would have wild mood swings, out of control anger and mania. I fight that today. In fact, I am a writer who now resists writing because it gets me so high and then I crash.

      That is like losing the identifying part of my soul.

      But my sanity. I have to safeguard all that I have worked for over the past few years since I cut ties with my pDoc and moved into integrative medicine.

      Find someone. Find an acupuncturist. That could be your first step. An acupuncurist can open doors to a whole new way of living for you.

      It might be difficult financially, but hopefully you have family who can help …

      You can do this.

    • It is the episodic memory which is so impaired and it does come back, at least the ability to be present in the moment and to use that part of the brain which forms connections to make and store memory.

      You have to give up sugar and nicotine. And you truly truly need to nourish your brain with adjuncts to the voids the medicine is filling in via supplements.

      I truly believe you can do this with the right support team. And I cannot urge you enough to not give up.

  43. Hi there,
    I want to thank you so much for your advice.
    I will do exactly as you have stated and firstly find a accupuncture practitioner.
    I feel very positive about what you have said and I appreciate the effort you have gone to very much .
    Best wishes and very well done yourself.
    It’s very helpful talking to somebody who has struggled in the same way.
    Many thanks
    Jane xx

  44. hi folk just wanted to chip in to this great website which has helped me by giving an up-date on my effexor weaning.

    It’s been two months since I stopped 75mg (was taking that dose for 5 years).

    I’m feeling, all-in-all, quite good. On the negative side, in a nut shell, i’m experiencing occasional mood swings, irritability and anger but I’m addressing this through mindfulness technics, working through them etc. Generally, I feel emotions more sharply, sex life is better, easier to laugh and thought-process is a bit quicker. I’ve been eating healthily, doing loads of sports. No booze or cigs! This is certainly helping to stabilise the moods to an extent.

    It is possible to come of the medication but it isn’t a walk in the park.

    If you decide to stop taking medication do it with a doc and don’t expect it to be super easy. Being on medication has it pros and cons, just like being off them. I’m not an expert, the above are just a few thoughts I’ve typed down as they’ve come to mind.

    Wishing everyone of you lots of love and strength to get through any hardships you have!
    Love Will

  45. hello YES it is true but i think some doctors and med fields just hide long time the side effects of Effexor -i was on very short time ont this medicine but i had horriblie side effects one of them was temporary memory lose after long time even i was no more on the medicine i still notice the damage what they did to my brain i still suffer from remembering some things for long term or recole the names of things the most what was upseting me was the fact that the doctor after my complain was trying to tell me that is nothing wrong with that medicine and i find out later how many people had the same problem like me so i was not the one who was making things up

  46. I am a nurse and have been on Effexor 150mg for 10 years. I thought I was having early onset Alheimers Disease . My short term memory is shot ,My medical terminology that has been second nature to me is slowly being lost. I lose my train of thought easily and cannot think of the words to complete what I was trying to say. I have started to wean myself by 37.5 mg every other day for 1 month.The second month I will go down by37.5 every 2 days for a month. I will use this until I am down by 37.5 xs 7 days. Then I will start over with another 37.5 using the same method. I use a calendar so I don’t forget. I would not recommend anyone trying this any faster because it is a wicked drug and if you do it too fast it may cause failure.Slowly but surely

    • Pamela,
      Can I ask if you are doing an extensive exercise in conjunction with this cut back? When I got down to this amount, I was exercising 4 times a week. I injured myself and the consequences of that impact on my brain chemistry resulted in a major depressive episode. Right now I am at 75 and doing yoga and meditating. About to reintroduce cardio. Hoping that will be the key.

  47. If all the comments made here were done by the individuals themselves, I would say they aren’t doing too bad. The person I’m with used to be on the same drug and wouldn’t be able to even get a sentence together, much less type it or know how to spell anything. Today, he proceded to put the leftover meatloaf which was in a sandwich bag, in the dishwasher. they tell him he has Alzheimers and vascular dementia. He was on the Effexor for probably about 3 years when I started to notice how different he was becoming. He is 66 years old and doesn’t know that he is that age or when his birthday is anymore. This also doesn’t really fit the Alzheimers profile as they tell me that one usually remembers past history more versus the present. I will remind him to go to the kitchen to take his medicine, and that usually takes about 3 tries before he accomplishes that. Again, that is something that he has done for many years, but it doesn’t click. Is there any concrete evidence out there coming from pharmacy or drug companies with any warnings on the drug effexor?

  48. I couldn’t afford to get my prescription, I’m on 150mg a day. Its been 3 days without and i feel like im detoxing. Dizzy, eyes wont focus right, my mouth feels almost numb, nauseous, very panicky and emotional. Crying right now because im writing this. I will be getting enough to get me through till payday in the morning.
    Now i read this about possible memory loss , i have had a problem with not remembering some of the simplest things and i chalked it up to an accident i had 7 yrs ago. Some days i dont remember what i did that same morning and others i remember the now but not the past. Then there are days i feel like im missing just a few hours .

  49. I’m having a really bad time with my memory, after 12 years of taking Effexor. I forget so many things now. I used to be proud of having a great memory. Now I can barely remember what I did yesterday, and I regularly pause in conversation because I can’t think what word it is I want to use, or what I was going to say next. I am hoping that it is the drug, and not any kind of early onset dementia. But I am getting very worried about it.

    • It is so difficult and frightening. Today I start the cutback from 37.5 Efffexor XR to 25 Effexor 1/2 am 1/2 pm. This has been a long journey. At one point I was up to 300mg. During this taper, which has been over years. setback after setback. And I am closer now than ever to getting off this med. And yes, cognitive dulling, memory loss are among the major side effects, in fact of most of the psychopharmaceuticals. My new doc put me on low doses of lamictal back in November as a bridge med to help get off the Effexor which he says no one should be prescribed now that they know how it actually parts of the brain which can exacerbate symptoms. I would really urge you to find an alternative. And a doc who knows how to help with tapering down and next steps.

  50. It’s 2 years later and no current posts. I want to print this and show it to my psychiatrist, but would like to know how everyone is doing, now. Your stories are my story and I currently take 150mg twice a day. I, also, take klonopin 1/2 mg morning and afternoon, and 1 mg at night. I have pretty bad PTSD and insomnia. I take a “cocktail” of the klonopin, 150mg trazodone at night. That stopped helping me sleep so I added 10mg of melatonin. That helped for awhile and I now add a few minutes of vaping some heavy indica marijuana. Now I sleep most of the night.

    I didn’t notice anyone having sleeping difficulties so that is probably my busy mind and ptsd. I’m thinking that the exercise might help with some of this.

    I am so glad I paged through the google listings and found your site. I’ve been seriously thinking I was going crazy. My husband has almost taken me to the hospital on several occasions for mental breakdown. I can’t thank you enough. I do ask for updated information from anyone as a lot has changed in the past couple of years in the way of meds., alternative medicine, etc. I want the latest before I begin this journey.

    • I have been meaning to write an update for some time …. in fact, i’ve been meaning to do a lot of things for some time. Right now, I am with a new pDoc and since December we have been working on weaning me off EffexorXR by adding small doses of Lamictal. Right now, I am at about 18 mg of Effexor. But since getting down this far (from 75 then which was down from 300 or thereabouts to begin) we are now up to 125 Lamictal. Experiencing rage, extreme ruminating, anxiety, depression, inabilty to motivate. This is day 4 on the increase by 25. Memory? Really bad. But then again, Ihave been so debilitated by this decrease I am not able to motivate to do yoga 5x a week or to meditate and hike. Sleeping has ALWAYS been the major problem for me and the Pdoc I am working with now is a sleep specialist. We are down to 25 mg of Trazadone from 150. The trazadone at that high a dose has a negative impact on sleep and actually inflames the mind so no wonder you are vaping. I also have what they refer to now as “Complex PTSD” Also take klonopin. If the upping of the lamictal doesn’t work, we are going to try inositol (sp)… It is a form of Vitamin B (maybe B8) you can buy OTC and it has reported great results dealing with depression, anxiety, sleeping, etc. Melatonin never worked for me.

      I will write more later …. I work almost exclusively in latest in AltMed so I do have several things to add which I have discovered over the years and which have worked except right now this last few steps in getting off the Effexor has totally thrown me off course. Pdoc says it will take a year for my mind to heal from so many years on ADs. He is so totally totally opposed to using them

      Let me know what your doc says but seriously for relief I would ask about Lamictal at really small dose (like 1/2 a 25 to start). The thing about it is you notice changes in 3-5 days and it has relatively NO side effects (well, some which I will write you later) .. no weight gain which is huge for me because it has taken me 2 years to loose 2/3 of the lbs I gained over 20 years on various ADs.

  51. I’ve been on 75mg of Effexor xr for 3 years. My memory is nowhere near what it used to be and I think it’s because of the drug. I was on Paxil cr years before and didn’t experience this side effect. I have tried many times to get off antidepressants and have never succeeded. I was off totally for about 4-5 months but was in absolute misery with social anxiety. I don’t know what to do because I hate being dependent on a drug!!

  52. Dear Boatsie/Deborah,

    I am 58 years old. I have been on Effexor for at least 15 years. I started taking Prozac in 1994. I took it for a year and then got off it. My friends noticed instantly that I was no longer smiling. I got back on Prozac but noticed that I could no longer remember what I had done last week at work. The change was remarkable=significant brain fog. So, I asked for a different med. I tried Wellbutrin, which was horrible. We settled on Effexor XR, which I have taken ever since.

    In 2004 I was diagnosed with ADD–so I started taking Ritalin LA as well. I take 40 mg of Ritalin LA on top of the Effexor. Somewhere in there (2010?) I worked with one psychiatrist who increased the Ritalin to 80 mg a day! She was a bit of a nut. After a time the Ritalin didn’t work at all and I had somewhat of a breakdown–and resigned from my job. Then in 2013 (?) I went to a neurologist who said I was an adrenal mess. He prescribed 20 mg Buspirone for anxiety. He said the Buspirone would help boost the Effexor as well. He was right–when I took Buspirone regularly it helped me stop clenching my teeth and tightening all my muscles all the time.

    Today I take Effexor, Ritalin and Buspirone. I can stop the Buspirone and the Ritalin no problem. If I miss one day of Effexor, no problem. Day 2, I will have night sweats, extremely vivid dreams and weird fractal spinning images at night. Day 3, I develop a splitting headache and I can get very touchy and weepy. I have never taken it to Day 4:-). I am scared to get off this stuff, though I did transition to Prozac when I was pregnant, so I guess I pulled it off for those months back in 2002. I can’t remember very well (ha-ha).

    It creeps me out to be on so many meds. Things have been worse since I went through menopause. I have a job I love now–and I am worried that my lack of memory will affect my job performance.

    Thanks for listening!

    • Lamictal really does help with getting down to lower doses of Effexor. It truly helped with all the side effects, except now I have to get off the Lamictal. I am about to the point where being at 37.5 may be where i end up for the rest of my life. After years of trying, I am 99% sure I am admitting defeat. Not sure how large a dose of Effexor you are on but you really need to find someone with significant expertise in designing a protocol to assist you. It doesn’t sound like you have found that pdoc yet.

      I wish you luck… Keep us posted.

  53. Does anyone know if memory will return after weaning off Effexor? I have been to my docter and Phycitrist with my huge concerns of memory loss, it has cost me my job, I’ve had to go on disability because of it and honestly thought I was getting early Ellzimers disease. I’m now on a high dose of Concerta because my Docter thinks I have adult ADHD due to my foggy brain . This was not an issue till I began Venofaxline 4 years ago. I feell like I’m going crazy as if there is a block on my head not allowing me to think and it’s all on the tip of my tounge. Please any suggestions? I’m desperate!

    • I’m down to 37 mg of Effexor now. We had to use Lamictal up to 150mg and got down to 25 for a short time but the depression just got so bad. I am now on Gabapentin and down to 75 of Lamictal but talk about memory loss! I feel as if my brain will never recover from the years of Effexor.

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